No team has been more dominant at the Olympics over the past 20 years then the U.S. women's basketball team, winning five straight gold medals.
They kept that streak going Sunday, beating Senegal 121-56 in their first game at the Rio Olympics. With that score, the team broke its own record for most points scored in the Olympics. The previous record was 114, set in 1992 and tied at the London Olympics.
They also won their 42nd straight Olympic game, easily handling an African nation still looking for its first victory in its second Olympics.
Diana Taurasi finished with 15, all on 3s.
The Americans led 35-9 after the first quarter with Taurasi shooting so well. Senegal got a boost from local fans embraced the underdog, cheering every shot. It didn't help as the United States led 64-21 at halftime and 94-38 after the third. That left only the final margin in doubt.
With nine players, including Bird, Diana Taurasi and Tamika Catchings, returning from the London Games, the U.S. is a heavy favorite to win another gold medal.
Olympic newcomers Elena Delle Donne, Brittney Griner and Breanna Stewart will add a dynamic mix to the veteran core.
The only potential thorn for the U.S. is lack of training time. While most other countries get to spend months together preparing, the U.S. has about two weeks before its first game. Although a lot of that time has been spent crisscrossing the country.
"I'm hoping that they remember some of the stuff that we did last year at the World Championship and a couple years ago at the Olympics and maybe February at that little training camp that we had," U.S. coach Geno Auriemma said. "Fortunately, they're a lot of the same players that played. So we haven't changed a whole lot. But there's not much time and there's not much that you can do to get ready. You just have to trust that they're ... They never let you down. They always seem to respond when you need them to."
The U.S. is in a difficult group with Serbia, China, Canada, Spain and Senegal.
"Obviously we're in a tough group," Auriemma added. "Because anytime you have the European champions like Serbia already in the group and Canada, the Americas champion, those are two really good teams. And then you add in China and Spain."
In other action:
France shocks Belarus
Endy Miyem scored her game-winning shot just as time was expiring and France stunned Belarus by pulling out a 73-72 win Sunday night in the Olympic women's basketball group play.
Officials immediately counted the basket, then went to replay to confirm whether the ball was out of Miyem's hand before time had expired. France (2-0) had already begun celebrating, while one Belarussian dropped to her knees as if she already knew the outcome.
The referee came back onto the court and ruled the shot counted, an emotionally devastating decision for Belarus.
Australia topped Turkey
Liz Cambage finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds as the Aussies held off Turkey 61-56 Sunday night in Olympic women's basketball group play.
Lara Sanders, who U.S. college basketball fans may remember as LaToya Pringle at North Carolina, scored 25 points. Nevriye Yilmaz added 14 points and Isil Alben had 13 and with Sanders' production the trio outscored Australia 29-25 in the first half.
Australia improved to 2-0 while Turkey fell to 0-2.
Spain holds off Serbia
Anna Cruz scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Spain pulled out a 65-59 victory Sunday over Serbia in the Olympic opener for both teams.
Marta Xargay also scored 15 points for Spain, which is back in the Olympics for the first time since 2008. That's when the Spaniards finished fourth for their best finish in the Olympics.
Astou Ndour added 11 points and 12 rebounds for Spain.
The Serbians made quite an impression in their Olympic debut with their up-tempo style of play. Serbia pulled within 62-59 on a layup by Jelena Milovanovic with 19 seconds to go, but Spain sealed the game as Laura Nicholls hit a free throw, and Ndour scored to finish off the win.